Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 1, 2016

“Surely God is good to Israel”. But, for the wicked, “Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm chapter 73.

Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!
2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no pains in their death,
And their body is fat.
5 They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued  like mankind.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
The garment of violence covers them.
7 Their eye bulges from fatness;
The imaginations of their heart run riot.
8 They mock and wickedly speak of oppression;
They speak from on high.
9 They have set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue parades through the earth.

10 Therefore his people return to this place,
And waters of abundance are drunk by them.
11 They say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge with the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the wicked;
And always at ease, they have increased in wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
And washed my hands in innocence;
14 For I have been stricken all day long
And chastened every morning.

15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.
16 When I pondered to understand this,
It was troublesome in my sight
17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when aroused, You will despise their form.

21 When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
22 Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
24 With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.”  Psalm chapter 73.

——————————

It may seem like there is “Common Grace” when we, like the Psalmist, see the prosperity of the wicked.  Verses 6-12.  But, when we perceive the end of the wicked, we understand.

“18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!”  Verses 18-19.

God’s grace is reserved for His people a/k/a the elect a/k/a the righteous.

“Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!”  Verse 1.

But, God will destroy the non-elect a/k/a the wicked.

“For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.”  Verse 27.

God protects and preserves His people.  God guides them and brings them to heaven.  Reformed Doctrine calls this precious point “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

“23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
24 With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.”  Verses 23-24.

In this chapter which sharply contrasts the righteous and the wicked, showing that there is no “Common Grace” covering both groups, this chapter notably ends with the following verse 28.

“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.”  Verse 28.

Other doctrine is proud of itself and its works.

But, Reformed Doctrine is humble through its teaching of man’s natural condition of “Total Depravity” and continually looks to God as its refuge and tells of God’s work from the very beginning to the very end:  from the very beginning of His “Unconditional Election” through His “Limited Atonement” through His “Irresistible Grace” to the very end of His “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.


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